Shirley Temple: Crying on cue was method acting

Associated Press file photo -- Shirley Temple appears in the 1936 film 'Poor Little Rich Girl.' Temple, who was born in 1928 and began acting at the age of three, received an honorary Academy Award in 1934 for her contributions as a child film star. Shirley Temple, the curly-haired child star who put smiles on the faces of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85. Publicist Cheryl Kagan says Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died Monday night, surrounded by family at her home near San Francisco.
Associated Press file photo -- Shirley Temple appears in the 1936 film 'Poor Little Rich Girl.' Temple, who was born in 1928 and began acting at the age of three, received an honorary Academy Award in 1934 for her contributions as a child film star. Shirley Temple, the curly-haired child star who put smiles on the faces of Depression-era moviegoers, has died. She was 85. Publicist Cheryl Kagan says Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died Monday night, surrounded by family at her home near San Francisco.

As a child actress, Shirley Temple was noted for being able to cry on cue for a movie scene. In a 1999 interview, she explained how she did it:

“I guess I was an early method actress. I would go to a quiet part of the sound stage with my mother. I wouldn’t think of anything sad, I would just make my mind a blank. In a minute I could cry. I didn’t like to cry after lunch, because I was too content.”

The talent came in handy when she was 21 and driving up Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu in her new red convertible with leather upholstery. The Highway Patrol stopped her for speeding.

As the officers approached her car, she remembers telling herself: “You’re an actress. Cry!” She did, and the officers were so sympathetic they escorted her back to her home.